I was just having a great chat with my dad who is now 67.5 years old. He was born in England and was telling me about how on his half day off work he would go into London and go to Piccadilly or Leicester Square to the movies nearly every week. Apparently they would have cartoons on 24 hours a day and you could pay just a small amount of money to go and watch them for as long as you liked. He thinks he may have seen "Ben Hur" and the Rodgers and Hammerstein "South Pacific" there. One of my favourite movies, "Paint Your Wagon", was on there too. He would ride his bike to the train station, then go on the train into the city centre. The train lines weren't underground back then and only went about 5km out of town whereas he lived about 10km out of town. Just before he left England in 196-(?) the train lines had come out further. After the movies he would catch the train back out and ride home.
I just can't imagine doing that these days. I barely walk anywhere of great distance and haven't ridden a bike for several years.
I am really proud of my dad. He is a bit of a loner, apparently just like his dad who was a woodwork teacher and was orphaned. He came out to Australia on a cheap/free ticket back when they were trying to get workers here. He was only really young and he had no family over here. Can you imagine that? Just getting on a boat, going to a totally foreign place, all on your own. I moved from Brisbane to Hamilton Island half way up the Queensland coast when I was about 19 years old. I definitely still wanted to be able to contact my mum, and I was also lucky enough to have family in the area as support. He had a lot of guts.
My dad likes how there is no class divisions here, unlike England where being private school educated could make you a bit of a snob. We really are lucky here to not have such distinct class divisions. I know I live in a really nice suburb, old families, good money. Most people here will still talk to me, even if our car is a bit old and rusty and my kids aren't always dressed in new clothes. Maybe it helps that I do try to teach them to have good manners at all times.
I hope I get lots more chances to talk to my dad about his life. As you get older life seems so fleeting.
Jen in Oz